Managing Management

Udita Upadhyay Words of Freedom Leave a Comment

Is depriving the private schools of management quota a good policy?

This article is the analysis of the results of the Saturday Poll posted on India Institute’s Facebook page on 28 December, 2013 which asked the above question. 54% of you believe that the new guidelines for 2014-15 issued by the Delhi Government which has taken away from private schools their management quota is a good policy while the other 46% of you do not think so.India Institute

There perhaps has hardly been a set in India that could satisfy all the needs of all the parents. For schools, keeping at least a few seats to be filled up at their discretion is necessary to cater to the needs of people who have helped them. There normally are innumerable people who have helped a school in its establishment and running. At the same time, every seat that is not filled up by an objective and uniform process is hardship for parents of one more child who could not get admitted in a preferred school. So school admission policies are very sensitive. 

Understandably, the new guidelines of the Delhi government has been a serious issue of discontent among private schools in the city. But the decision has come as a boon for many parents. With higher seat availability and preference being given to students living within an 8km radius of the school, more parents in the catchment area will now have a higher chance of getting their wards admitted. The policy has also received support from many who feel that it would curb the illegal collection of donations in lieu of seats and other corrupt practices by the schools. 

However, the policy may be lacking long term vision.

First, it might hurt parents severely. Since neighbourhood factor carries a 70% weightage in the admission process, children in areas without good schools are now condemned to go to whatever school is available nearby, leaving parents without school choice even when they can afford to exercise the same. With management quota, they might have been able to get a seat in a better school if their parents were ready to arrange transport. In other words, for many children now, fate will play a bigger role in school admissions than the enthusiasm and efforts of their parents. Next, doing away with the management quota and making the admission criteria uniform for all private schools has taken away the autonomy of the private schools and, by securing demand for their services from parents in their neighbourhood, has left them with no incentive to compete and improve the quality of facilities and education they provide. Finally, since they will have no option but to find ways of obliging to the people who have helped them, corruption in the admission process will now see the collaboration of the education department officials who are tasked with enforcing the regulation.At the heart of the problem of admissions is supply shortage. So any attempt at a solution should start with encouraging the establishment of more schools.